Whether you’re just starting out or your business is established it’s important to invest some time into planning your business focus and actions. Business people often prioritise writing a business plan, but for success a marketing plan should also be a priority. Business tutor Anna Campbell gives you a step by step guide to help you write your marketing strategy.
A marketing plan or pr strategy is a blueprint for your marketing and advertising goals within a timeframe. It is helpful to spend some focussed time working on this as it will help direct your marketing actions for the year.
Identify your current situation
Your first step is to honestly identify your current situation in terms of sales and marketing. What activities have you done up until now to promote sales? What has worked well? What hasn’t worked? Why do you think it worked or didn’t work?
Block out half a day to work on your plan and start with a SWOT analysis and look at:
Strengths – what is working well for your business? What advantages do you have e.g. contacts that have been helpful, social media following etc
Weaknesses – what hasn’t worked so well? What gaps do you have? What do you want to prioritise?
Opportunities – look to your strengths and weaknesses and consider how you can capitalise on the strengths and overcome the weaknesses
Threats– threats can be external issues that you have little control over e.g. economic issues, amount of time you have to work on your business etc. Think creatively about how these can be turned into opportunities for example, if there is an economic downturn in the area you sell in consider the types of product you are selling and work on a more affordable range.
For your SWOTs think about the ‘w’ questions to give you as many ideas as possible. These are –
Who – about you, your business, your customers, your outlets
Where – online, markets, craft fairs, shops, galleries etc
Why – what is your focus? Why are you building your business?
What – focussing on product, packaging etc
When – set targets and goals (see below)
How – think about how you are going to prioritise your time in your business
Once you have spent some time thinking about the status quo your focus should move to what you want to achieve with your marketing. Is it to create sales, build awareness of your brand, get repeat sales, sell at prestigious locations? This may sound obvious to you but your goals may be different to someone else.
Be specific about your goals and set a time limit to help you focus.
You also need to consider carefully your current customers and your ideal customer. When deciding where to market your product – online or offline – you need to ensure you are targeting sites and publications that your customer will read.
Also, you will have different types of customers – some that don’t know about you yet, some that know about you but haven’t bought, some that have bought once and some that are regular customers. Have a look at this previous blog post for more detail on how to address these different types of customer with your marketing.
You may have restrictions such as the amount of time you have to devote to marketing in your working week or financial restrictions on paying for advertising. Plan a budget for both your time and money and try to ensure you focus your marketing actions on those things that will bring you closer to your goal.
Also ensure you set some time limits on your goals e.g. I’d like to be selling in three different shops by December 2017. This helps you focus on the important goals when you are caught up in the day to day.
It may seem like a big task to plan your Marketing and PR but it will save you time in the long run as it will be clear what activities do and fit within the plan which can save you both time and money.
What other tips do you have for making the most out of your time dedicated to Marketing and PR? Tell us in the comments below!
Author: Anna Campbell
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